Human Interest


Japanese Company Gives Employees a ‘Pet Allowance’

January 10, 2008 03:05 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A pet food company in Japan offers employees money to help pay for pet care, but the Japanese are not alone in their four-legged fixation. Americans spent an estimated $41 billion on their pets in 2007.

30-Second Summary

Kyoritsu Seiyaku is giving employees about $9 each month to help them keep their pets healthy.

According to the BBC, the 1990s saw a boom in pet ownership in Japan with the purchase or adoption of nearly 18 million animals.

In fact, “Analysts say that many Japanese families are deciding to put off having children, and buy pets instead,” the BBC reports.

But Americans are no less engrossed in their animal companions. In 2007, U.S. consumers spent an estimated $41 billion on pet care.

An American Pet Products Manufacturers Association survey showed that ownership increased from 56 percent of households in 1988 to more than 60 percent in 2007.

According to MSNBC, pets first showed up in American homes after World War II. The widespread move to the suburbs meant families had more space and money for animals.

Now there are numerous specialty pet products on the market. Some are practical, such as sweaters that protect dogs in cold weather, while others, such as dog coffee and perfume, are either luxurious or silly.

Pets are sometimes written into their owners' will, though few are as lucky as the four-legged beneficiary of hotelier Leona Helmsley. Her dog, Trouble, inherited $12 million when Helmsley died.

Despite ample evidence that people in the West are no less goofy about their pets than the Japanese, a recent Internet hoax suggests that English-speaking peoples will continue to think otherwise. The hoax involved a slew of news stories about a company “fleecing” would-be poodle owners in Japan by selling them baby lambs.

The stories were eventually debunked, but not before they had made the leap from the Web to the mainstream press.

Headline Link: ‘Japan Firm Offers “Pet Allowance”’

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